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City cat controversy continues; Alderwoman assures new rule not ‘leash law’

NASHUA – After a stir was caused last Friday when Nashua resident Gary Braun distributed postcards alleging his viewpoint of government plan to capture innocent cats, Ordinance 93-6 continues to make its way through City Hall.

The matter is on the agenda for the Personnel/Administrative Affairs Committee meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday.

Braun has been vocal in his opposition of both the current contract between the city and the Humane Society for Greater Nashua. Friday, he said he hopes the committee will delay passing the ordinance, or send it back to the Board of Aldermen with recommendations for revisions.

“I’m going to argue that they should put this off until they have more information before the pass this,” Braun said. “I think they need to slow this down and ask, ‘Are cats really nuisances? Is there any instances in the last 30 years when a cat has transferred an infectious disease or organism?”

“Where’s the crisis,? Where’s the epidemic?”

Nashua Alderman Patricia Klee’s proposed additions to ordinance 93-6 Impoundment of dogs, cats, ferrets and chickens reading “(6) Any cat or ferret which is off the premises of the owner and either a) a nuisance or b) suspected of being or which is diseased or injured, and (7) Any cat or ferret which the Dog Office or other authorized person has reason to believe is a stray.”

Braun said the new language effectively creates a new leash law. He said this will cost the city more money, as well as grant it too much power.

“There is no standard for determining what’s a stray cat, and any person in the city can make that determination,” Braun said Friday. “It’s wrong and I say it’s illegal for anyone other than the police to be allowed to trap stray cats.”

After Braun distributed his postcards last week, Klee said she has continued dealing with angry constituents who believe that the city is intending to take their pets. She said that is not the case, and she wants those who believe the city is trying to introduce a leash law to know the new wording within the ordinance is intended to clarify actions city officials have already been able to take regarding cats.

“If you you look at it, it says any animals that are off their owner’s property can be brought to the humane society if located,” Klee said.

“I contacted lawyers; I contacted the state. They said the intent was already there,” she added, saying her intentions were well meaning, intended on protecting pets. “I thought I was being a good person.”

“It basically says please keep your animals on your property – you need to keep control of your pets,” Klee added.

Since the distribution of Braun’s postcards, Klee said he life has been a nightmare, as she continues to get calls from angry constituents.

“I am still getting phone calls; I am still getting threats,” she said.

“Anytime it is referred to as a leash law, we get calls that are very angry and the most of the time very nasty,” she said.

“It’s not a leash law,” Klee continued to emphasize. “It’s no different than the law we already had.”

Mathew Plamondon may be reached at 594-1244, or at mplamondon@nashuatelegraph.com, @telegraph_MatP.